It’s ALIVE! It’s ALIVE! – Mummifying Copyright Law

On this day of tricks and treats, let’s revisit this treat dealing with the copyright in characters, specifically monsters. Happy Halloween!

Statute of RyAnne

spooky houseDid you know that separate from a book, play or movie characters in those creative pieces can also receive copyright protection? It’s true. One of the early cases defining this idea is Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp in 1930. Judge Learned Hand recognized that characters could receive copyright protection; however, he did so with something for all creators of works to keep in mind. He stated,

“It follows that the less developed the characters, the less they can be copyrighted; that is the penalty an author must bear for marking them too indistinctly.”

This got me thinking about Halloween and whether horror film monsters such as Frankenstein, and Dracula or more generic monsters like mummies, vampires and zombies were subject to copyright protection. A quick search for Halloween monsters reveal that there are a group of film monsters known as the “Universal Monsters” who are subject to copyright protection. Those…

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